What character defect are you working on today?
Character Defects. Ugh, this is so not what I wanted to pick for a topic this week, but the topic picked me! LOL I have one glaring defect these days. I am too judgmental of others. I noticed it when chatting to my husband recently about other family members. (His family mostly, lol) Now that is certainly nice to notice, but in all fairness to myself they are the ones that live the closest that I interact with the most frequently right now. I just don’t like how I feel after taking their inventory or being critical of how they are choosing to live their lives. I suppose the Thanksgiving holiday played a part in all of it as we drove 500 miles to spend the holiday with a couple of lovely people that drink daily.
I realize now that while that may not have been the best idea, the actual holiday was wonderful. There were 10 of us for dinner, and six of those were twenty-something. It is fun to be around a bunch of kids the ages of my own children and the primary reason I chose to attend. (One of my kids is in Berkeley and the other in N.Y. and I try to see them once a year, but my son had to work and my daughter was in Utah.) At any rate, I noticed that at the end of the day while visiting our family downstate, my husband and I would lie in bed and talk about how blessed we feel not to be drinking on a daily basis. But I also noticed that I was particularly negative. So I thought perhaps it is something that needs to be addressed in myself.
I am becoming more like my Mother as I age and not in a nice way. Those very same character defects that my Mom had, I seem to have as I get older. The difference being, I have the magical tool kit that the Fellowship and my Higher Power have gifted me with. I don’t have to stay in the muck today. I can pray and ask God to remove those character defects (judgmental and negative) from me. Hold on, there is no time like the present. I will be back in a moment after I drop to my knees. What came to mind was the 7th Step Prayer.
The Seventh Step Prayer
from page 76 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
I am now willing that You should have all of me,
good and bad.
I pray that You now remove from me
every single defect of character which stands in the way
of my usefulness to You and my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here,
to do Your bidding.
Having said a prayer in close proximity to the 7th Step prayer, I went on to ask that my Higher Power continue to keep me pliable. I would prefer to be play dough today and not fired clay rendered hard, dry, and fragile. It is as simple as that for me today.
I used to complicate things in early sobriety and try to figure out and understand exactly what motivated me. It has become easier to trust in the process that AA and the 12 Steps have laid out before me. If I am to have clarity on an issue with self, then my God will give that to me in His time. Those are those very magical and clear as a bell “Ah Hah” moments. Those moments are the golden threads in my tapestry and the pearls that adorn me. My creator gives me gifts each and every day, and for that I am grateful. So for now, I feel better. I have asked that my Higher Power remove my judginess (I made that word up.) and my negativity. Now I must do the footwork, and not gossip about it to others … or feed the stinkin’ thinkin’ from last weeks topic!
For me, character defects remind me of that “whack a mole” game or the movie “Caddy Shack.” I deal with them one by “whacking it back down or blowing it up” or giving it to God, as the case may be. And no sooner have I sat back to catch my breath when another one pops up!
I am never done growing gals. This is a process that lasts my lifetime. Still, I much prefer the sometimes painful growth to the misery I endured while still out in the world trying so desperately to control my drinking. Or as another one of my AA gals has shared with me in years past, character defects are something like the La Brea Tar Pits. The Mammoths and Sloths from the ice age continue to emerge from the primordial ooze as time passes, revealing themselves bit by bit.
So our topic this week is: What Character Defect are you working on today?